Patient ed tool improves decision making for breast Ca

November 1, 2004

Specially designed visual aids and written materials-intended to help surgeons present treatment options to women newly diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer and to help them participate in the treatment decision process-left women better educated about their disease and treatment options.

Specially designed visual aids and written materials-intended to help surgeons present treatment options to women newly diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer and to help them participate in the treatment decision process-left women better educated about their disease and treatment options. It also left women feeling less conflicted about and more satisfied with their treatment decision, according to this randomized Canadian trial.

The investigation, involving 201 women, used a "decision board" that consisted of a 26 x 20-inch foam board containing details on four areas: treatment choices, side effects, the results of the treatment choice on the breast, and the results of the treatment on survival. Each of these four subtopics were covered for both lumpectomy and radiation and for mastectomy. The teaching tool took about 20 minutes to present and didn't increase the length of the medical consult.

In addition to being more educated about their condition and treatment options, women who used the decision board were more likely to choose breast-conserving therapy over mastectomy and to more strongly prefer their treatment choice.